A good Water Hardness test kit please

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by hobiecatter, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. hobiecatter

    hobiecatter New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    TX
    Where is the best place to get a tet kit that will show me exactly what my water hardness is?

    Are the strips test kits more/less accurate than the drops? I took my water to Sears to try and find out exactly what the hardness is and he used the drops method. The results were "moderately hard" they match the color to a scale with a range of numbers, not giving me the actual gpg.

    I want a test kit that I can use at home to check my water anytime I want that will show me exactly what the gpg is so I can always know that my softener is working as efficient as possible and there is NO hardness!

    Can anyone provide a link to a cheap test that I can buy online that is accurate? or a store please?
    I prefer a test that would also check chlorine and ph, but that's not a huge concern.

    Also, before you ask, I'm on city water that comes mostly from local wells not surface water. I called them and asked personally what the hardness is and they said it just varies from time of the year and where in the city you live. The range was too broad for me and I want one I can test my own.

    Gary, you said you used to send them out with your orders so customers always knew they had zero hardness. That is what I'm after, what/where can I get that without paying $60 for a test kit?

    Thanks!
  2. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,826
    Location:
    Ontario California
    Hach 5B, the most trusted test kit, used by every commercial dealer for GPG testing. The kit is relatively inexpensive, highly accurate, and has a decent shelf life.

    You will typically find it on many sites for about $30-$35
  3. hobiecatter

    hobiecatter New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    TX
    thanks dittohead!

    Is the Hach kits something that can be purchased at any stores you know of? would prefer to get locally and not have to pay for shipping and wait. I already checked the big box stores and they don't have anything that is as good as this. Where I live there are plenty of businesses, just not sure where to call and ask.
  4. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,826
    Location:
    Ontario California
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Test strips will do what you want to do and are very inexpensive but... After a short time you will be able to feel a difference in the water if it goes hard.

    And if it does, it will be because you didn't size and program for the highest hardness in your city water system as I have said to do.

    Recall they said the hardness varies? Well how are you going to know when it has changed unless you are testing raw water daily forever?

    Your softener wont know the hardness increased and you won't know until you start getting hard water through the softener. Then you do 2 manual regenerations after setting the salt dose to the max of 15 lbs/cuft of resin with no water use during or between the 2 manual regenerations and reset the salt back to what it was.

    Then you reprogram for the highest hardness in the city water system or you'll be doing this every once in awhile forever.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  6. hobiecatter

    hobiecatter New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    TX
    Hey Gary, I'm not ure if yor mixing me up w/ someone else but we haven't talked about my softener size or programming....yet

    Once I get the hard facts on my hardness I'll post some questions on programming.

    But good info though. This is also why I want to be able to do multiple tests. So I can also bypass and monitor the water of the city and see how much it actually fluctuates.

    So the strips work just as well as the drops? I'm confused.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  7. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
    1,826
    Location:
    Ontario California
    strips will give you very basic information. I would have my delivery guys use strips since they were only doing very basic analysis, my technicians used the Hach 5B since they were doing the programming, maintenance, service, etc. My delivery guys would call our service department if they found hard water. Since you are curious as to how the system works and the programming, you should get the Hach 5B test kit. The strips only tell you approximately how hard or soft the water is, the Hach 5B gives you an exact number. It is a very simple kit to use and is extremely inexpensive on a per test basis.
  8. hobiecatter

    hobiecatter New Member

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    TX
    thanks for your help.

    I just placed an order for the Hach 5B. Why not, I've already invested this much... might as well not skimp on the testing.
  9. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    You won't be disappointed..
  10. Killer95Stang

    Killer95Stang New Member

    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    Southern CA
    I know this thread is old... but I purchased the HACH 5B recently based original posters questions.

    So.. I tried the test three times using the instructions on back of the box, but I'm still confused a little about my results.

    When I performed the test, the test solution would change from pink to blue for a few seconds when I hit 17 drops, but then it would be back to pink. It wouldn't stay completely blue until I hit 19 or 20 drops. Does this mean I have a water hardness of 17 or 19-20?
  11. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    Maine
    19-20 ..........
  12. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I've used a Hach combo test kit (Hardness, Iron, pH, and Chlorine (Total)) for years. They were used in the labs where I used to work, so I had good access to a supplier and rave reviews from all the gen-u-ine scientests in the labs. Some of them get pretty pricey, but you get what you pay for.
  13. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Killer, 20 gpg.

    Mikey, I gave my softener customer a go/no go (hard/soft) test kit.
  14. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    That's a good start, to at least see if he should be interested in a softener or not. What was the go/no go break point in gpg?
  15. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    No no, I said a softener customer, meaning he already bought the softener from me... The test kit was to determine if the softener was working (0 gpg or 1 or more gpg of hardness in the softened water) when he or someone else might think it wasn't.
  16. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Ah, good idea. At what point do most folks decide their water is "hard" or "soft"? I see a huge difference between my softened water and water almost everywhere else when I travel, but I never thought to take my test kit with me. Another opportunity to experiment!
  17. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Most dealers would propose a softener with 3-4 gpg or higher.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
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